University of Rochester

Letters to the Editor

A Matter of Degree

I am not overly concerned by the University’s decision to have Gen. Colin Powell as the keynote speaker at the recent Meliora Weekend (November-December). After all, a university should promote and permit a diversity of ideas.

However, it is a giant leap from keynote speaker to honorary degree recipient.

Given General Powell’s rather dramatic failure at a critical point in our nation’s history, it is most disappointing that the University administration felt it appropriate to award such an honor. If I could find my diploma, I would burn it.

Dick Wiederhorn ’65
St. Simons Island, Ga.

A Hero’s Tale

Reading “Everyday Hero” (Alumni Gazette, September-October), the story of how Matt Shackles ’05 helped rescue a woman from a burning car, reminded me of my short-lived fame back in May 1981 when I performed the same heroics near campus.

The circumstances were a little different in my case, however. The second semester of my senior year I shared a house near the corner of South and Elmwood. On the morning of my heroics I should have been in my EE242 class, but a big party the night before had made concentrating on mathematics of any level impossible that morning. So I slept late and took my dog for a walk instead of going to class.

As we wandered down South Avenue on that beautiful, quiet Rochester morning, I glanced to my left down Gold Street and saw, unbelievably, a burning car. No one else was around—it was just me, the dog, the burning car, and as I was to find out, the guy inside the burning car.

Without thinking, I tied the dog to a tree, ran over to the car, yanked the door open, and through thick smoke pulled from the back seat an unconscious man. As I dragged him to safety on a nearby lawn I heard sirens approach from the distance as my dog barked encouragement. In a minute the car was completely engulfed in flames, and a few minutes after that, the entire street was awash with police, firemen, and ambulances. I told my story and received some congratulations as the guy I had pulled from the car got loaded into an ambulance and taken away.

Later I let a couple of friends in on the adventure and that night we toasted my heroism in the Rathskeller.

As I entered my EE242 class a couple of days later, a little late as usual, Dr. [Robert] Waag asked me where I had been the previous class. We were a close-knit bunch and absences were noticed.

Just as I stumbled to tell the story as briefly as possible, the entire class stood and gave me a long round of applause, Dr. Waag included. Unbeknownst to me, the story had been on the news the night it happened and my classmates had seen fit to give me a proper hero’s welcome.

Elliot Sobel ’81
New York City

A Site for Semanticists

I am writing to announce to alumni and to the University community a new Web site for my father, the late Robert B. Cantrick ’38E, ’46 (PhD). The site——introduces my father’s unfinished scholarly work on semantics and music and also details his contributions to the fields of music history and performance. It may be of interest to music theorists, musicologists, and performers (notably flutists), as well as to logicians and semanticists.

Susan Cantrick

Review welcomes letters from readers and will print them as space permits. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity. Unsigned letters cannot be used, but names of the writers may be withheld on request. Send letters to Rochester Review, 30 Wallis Hall, P.O. Box 270033, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-0033;